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KCC honors outstanding faculty

May 9, 2019

Daily Journal staff report

Kankakee Community College recently announced that Amy Porter and Claire Henneike were selected to receive the 2019 Outstanding Faculty Awards. Both Porter and Henneike will be honored at KCC’s commencement ceremony Saturday.

About 450 people are expected to graduate at the KCC commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday in the George H. Ryan Gymnasium in the college’s Activities Building.

Porter, an English professor in the humanities and social sciences division, is the Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member recipient.

“She understands everyone learns differently and she breaks information down whenever needed,” said Ashley Harwood, of Kankakee, a former student in Porter’s English I class. “She is always willing to help her students in and out of the classroom. Porter is more than a teacher, she is a friend.”

Porter didn’t consider becoming a teacher until she was a graduate assistant at Illinois State University, where she also completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology. As Porter combined her expertise in psychology with leading a classroom, she found the type of career fit she wanted.

“She’s always helping students, whether it’s class work or just talking one on one,” said Kaitlin Bowers, of Chebanse, a former student in Porter’s English I class. “She brings a positive outlook on life and never fails to make everyone laugh. In class, the atmosphere is relaxed and students can learn at their own pace.

“When asked a question, Amy answers so students can understand in their own way. Amy’s sublime knowledge of English and her eagerness to spread that knowledge undoubtedly makes her an outstanding professor.”

Porter began as an adjunct professor at KCC in 2008, and was hired full time in 2011. She teaches English I, English II and accelerated writing instruction. She also has taught rhetoric-composition at Joliet Junior College; Prairie State College; and Governors State University, where she also co-managed a writing center.

Henneike, who teaches college-level dual credit English in the humanities and docial dciences fivision, is the Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Member recipient.

Henneike teaches a dual-credit English course at Watseka High School, where the students earn both college credit and high school credit at the same time. She also strives to be a lifelong learner, along with her teaching duties at both Watseka High School and KCC.

Henneike has been instrumental in closing the gap between high school and college readiness for local high school students, said Mary Steichen, a KCC English professor. With her assistance, KCC has made strides in better preparing students for transfer-level coursework.

Another way Henneike makes a difference is by having students complete a project aimed at bettering their local community, which encourages civic responsibility.

“Claire’s energies demonstrate concern for her students that extends well beyond the confines of her classroom,” Steichen said.

Porter and Henneike also will be nominated for the annual Illinois Community College Trustees Association outstanding faculty awards, which are presented in June.

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